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History of Tattoos - Ancient Art

Author: Bob Matheson

Tattoos are a passionate topic these days. People get tattoos for many reasons. Millions of styles have been applied and continue to be created. But tattoos are not a new thing. The history of tattoos is a novel, not a short story, and they've been here for ages.

Oetzi The Iceman

Nobody can really assert just when the history of tattoos began. The oldest established tattoo was unearthed in 1991. It was found on a mummy referred to as Oetzi, an Iceman dated to be not less than 5300 years old. His tattoos consist of horizontal and vertical lines. There is some debate as to the reason the tattoos are there.

Upon discovery of the remains, researchers have been able to do little but hypothesize that this most archaic type of tattoo was designed with the intent of warding off evil spirits, or that it may perhaps have been a particular type of rite-of-passage.

The most pervasive proposal is that the tattoos were designed for healing factors. Oetzi's fifty-seven tattoos are positioned over several joints on the body. The idea is that the tattoos were created as a type of acupuncture was practiced to relieve painful joints. In our day, the same sites are used for acupuncture. Other theories range from social class and ritual markings to ethnic marks or simple preference.

Combined on his spine and at the back of one knee and on one ankle, the Ice Man had approximately fifty-seven tattoos. While it is difficult to do more than speculate as to the actual reason for them, it undoubtedly shows that tattoos are not exclusive to the present period.

As the Ice Man is the most primitive mummified human remains discovered in Europe, tattoo lovers of the current era have the past on their side-- there's nothing "modern" about the history of tattoos.

Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians have one of the most well known ancient societies for tattoos. Dating back to 2100 BC, discovered mummies have been shown to be adorned in an assortment of tattoos. Women flaunted tattoo styles that were limited to women only. These designs were typically a sequence of lines and dots around the body. Tattoos in Egyptian society are thought to have been types of ritual markings.

Oriental Tattoos

In Japan, tattoos had been initially used on clay figures. These human shaped figures represented a deceased individual and were discovered in the tombs of the person they resembled. The tattoos were imprinted or painted on the faces of the figures. It is thought that these markings possess religious or spiritual meaning. The figures have been found in tombs that have been dated to 3,000 BC.

Japan's earliest recognizable tattoo is from 297 AD and has been demonstrated to be for decorative purposes only. Tattoo artists were known as the "Horis" in Japan. The Horis were recognized as masters and ultimately created the full body suit tattoo.

Although Oriental symbols are very trendy for tattoos in America, it is not commonly known that both the Japanese and Chinese cultures have maintained a strong resistance to the practice of tattooing throughout history. With both societal and religious viewpoints in agreement that tattooing is something that should not be practiced, it's nevertheless deemed to be a means of contaminating one's body. For the ancient Chinese, tattooing was used as a penalty for criminal activity, placing such obvious marks on a person to forever brand that person as a law breaker.

Tattoos have been found to be present in times past throughout the world. They have been determined to be a symbol of a variety of things such as social standing, religion and frequently simply for decoration. Found on males and females alike, tattoos are discovered in every shape, dimension and color pattern imaginable. Regardless of whether they have been demonstrated to be something that was previously held sacred or they're for ornamentation only, tattoos have been around for ages and will continue to be around for a long time to come.

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